Cloudy with a Chance of…

Yesterday I questioned the research made public via a press release from Axis. Apparently 40% of the IT respondents said they leveraged cloud based storage. That sounded odd to me. It was a surprisingly high number, and it didn’t jive with my experiences – but I could be wrong. Perhaps sending an AVI via gmail is considered “leveraging the cloud” 🙂

cloud-upload-2For surveillance of a private home I feel that a cloud based solution is absolutely the way to go, and a few companies are gunning for that market (DropCam, CamCloud..). I thought Axis might grab that market, but so far they seem very reluctant to upset any of the VMS vendors by going that route, and so perhaps that market will be left open to the new kids on the block (Foscam, Dahua, HikVision etc). 

Setting up a service in the cloud is exceedingly simple these days – there’s the traditional hosting solutions, and then there are the enterprise ones : Microsoft Azure and Amazon. Microsoft offered me (and pretty much every other developer) a chance to set up a node in their cloud, and within one day I had a (very) simple video recorder set up “in the cloud”.

Now, as I am recording my own home, I only record video “on exception”. So ideally, I would never record anything, because no exceptions occur. I might feel warm and fuzzy about my system if I capture the garbage truck and the mailman every day, but I do not intend the cameras to record myself eating dinner with my family, nor record the family cat as it drags its lazy ass across the floor towards its food-bowl. I don’t need to capture what tool the burglar used to pry open the windows, nor if he entered through the front or the back of the house – those things are evident without video. What I need is one (or more) great snaps of the buglar. That footage, I’d like to store in the cloud as it happens (hopefully never).

Sending noise frames all through the night to the server makes no sense either – the camera should be smart enough to know if the image it is sending contains “meaningful” information. E.g. if you are using AGC, then during low light, the noise level rises. Sometimes to the point where the motion detection triggers again and again. Ideally, I’d like my camera to come with a PIR and have the camera turn the lights on if something is amiss (and I think some of the new players are going that route).

This is totally different from recording what goes on at a gas station, a restaurant or a bank. Where I consider a cloud based solution absolutely appropriate for private homes, I find it totally inappropriate in areas where continuous recording is the norm. Perhaps a hybrid solution would make sense (cloud based after hours, local recording during opening hours).